Why Kids Don't Need Kinect
Microsoft's biggest difference between the Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4 is Kinect 2.0. Microsoft is touting the Kinect as the feature that makes the Xbox One so fantastic for not only core gamers, but everyone. This was made clear at their press conference introducing the Xbox One, where they barely even gave a mention to the fact that the box played games.
Microsoft hopes that, by requiring Kinect be sold with every Xbox One and giving it a high-definition camera, game developers will utilize this device to its fullest: motion gaming, voice commands, etc. It's a great idea for kids too, right? Won't it help them get into gaming? Well, after watching my five-year-old daughter without a fully developed left hand play DuckTales: Remastered on the PS3 this weekend, I answer that question with a resounding, "NO!"
Kids are the future (not Kinect)
My daughter loves to play games. For the most part she's spent whatever gaming time she's had so far playing games on our iPad or her LeapPad, or on the computer at educational websites. She enjoys games, and more than anything, loves seeing what happens when she clicks a button, moves the mouse a certain direction, or otherwise interacts with the game.
We have spent a little time on the Xbox 360 as well, trying out Kinect-based games such as Carnival Games, Disneyland Adventures, and even Fruit Ninja. While she enjoys playing these games (when they work), the overall impression I got was that she preferred controlling things on-screen with some sort of controller. Whether it is a touch pad, a controller, or a mouse, she has more fun and more often asks to play these games than anything on the Kinect.
Back in my day...
Now I'm not saying that my daughter is the be-all end-all in the study of what games are best for children, but I am using her as an example to back up my main point, which is we don't need Kinect to get kids into gaming. A lot of people believe that by giving kids motion-controlled gaming, they will learn to love games in a way that our generation never imagined.
That's all well and good, but why do we need that? What's wrong with using the original Nintendo controller to play Mario? Why is sticking your hand forward to make your on-screen character walk in Disneyland Adventures any better than using a controller to move yourself around? Didn't Microsoft and Sony spend a ton of money to make improvements to their already excellent controllers from the current generation of consoles? The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 controllers are fantastic, and controlling games with a game pad has never been better. My point is that motion controlled gaming is not any better than what we have now or even what we grew up with, and it's unfortunate that Microsoft is trying to make us believe it is.
Don't get me wrong, I am excited for Xbox One in general. The machine looks to be powerful and capable, and we should see some truly next generation titles on the system. But Microsoft doesn't need to force feed us Kinect.
Don't get me wrong, I am excited for Xbox One in general. The machine looks to be powerful and capable, and we should see some truly next generation titles on the system. But Microsoft doesn't need to force feed us Kinect. Millions of gamers would buy the system without it. It's not a system seller, at least not with the core gamers. In fact, for that audience it's more of a reason to NOT buy it. It's a gimmick, and it's not going to help them beat Sony.
It's fun watching my daughter play DuckTales: Remastered. She is still trying to figure out how to best hold the controller, and is exploring what the different buttons do, but that's part of the fun. Having a device in your hands that controls your on-screen character and watching as they perform actions you dictate is exciting. We all grew up loving it thanks to Mario, Sonic, Mega Man, and Metroid. I just wish Microsoft would remember that, and back off trying to force motion-controlled gaming down our throats.